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Unifor shows solidarity with Mexican workers

September 22, 2017

Ottawa – In a rally outside the Mexican Embassy in Ottawa today, Unifor members, including two busloads of striking workers from the General Motors Ingersoll plant, expressed solidarity with Mexican workers on NAFTA failures.

“When the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed, we were told that it would lift up wages and bring Mexican workers out of poverty and that hasn’t happened,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.

The rally began with a moment of silence for the victims of Tuesday’s earthquake followed by an announcement that the union will donate $150,000 to the Mexican Red Cross for disaster relief. Arturo Hernandez-Basave, Ambassador Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Mexico, thanked Unifor for the contribution at the rally.

“We want to show our support, through this tragic time and to help them build a more prosperous future,” Dias said.

Messages of solidarity were also extended from workers in the U.S. and Mexico. Unifor National Secretary-Treasurer Bob Orr, who was in Mexico to meet with workers there just before the earthquake, read a statement from Mexican unions calling for labour in all three countries to stand together.

“We fight to prevent NAFTA from passing without guaranteeing decent employment conditions, as well as respecting the fundamental rights of workers, and the right to sustainable development in each nation,” Orr said, reading from the statement.

Peter Knowlton, President United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America, said Unifor has led the fight for a better NAFTA.

“Unifor is changing the labour movement, not just in Canada, but the U.S. too,” he said.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Kathleen O’Keefe at or 416-896-3303 (cell).